Posted by Billyjam, July 10, 2008 11:32am | Post a Comment

Lately I've been digging in my archives, specifically my Bay Area Hip-Hop archives, and it has been fun going back over all of this great music which, as is often the case, is hard to completely absorb and fully appreciate the significance of right as it is all happening around you. This Bay Area hip-hop archival from a dozen years ago, including the video above for Mac Mall's great single from that time, "Get Right," is the first in a series of hip-hop flashbacks from the Bay Area hip-hop archives that I have accumulated since the mid-eighties. This specific time-encapsulated slice of Bay Area hip-hop is from the the week of April 6th, 1996.
Tupac Shakur
It includes a Bay Area Top 50 chart (singles & albums & demo tapes -- all subjectively chosen) and a Bay Area Rap News headlines report -- both taken from the Hip Hop Slam produced radio show ("Pirate Fuckin Radio") I did at the time that was broadcast on a bunch of small micro-powered radio stations (aka pirate radio) including Free Radio Berkeley, Steal This Radio in New York City,  San Francisco Liberation Radio, Free Radio Santa Cruz, KBUD Mendocino, 89.1FM Seattle, Flavor 919 and 909 The Bomb in Miami, and Black Magic Radio in Fresno. 

Also included are certain album covers and videos. But what is most interesting about this chart from a dozen years ago is that it captures the roots of the current hyphy movement and other contemporary Yay Area rap styles. Note that Master P, his TRU (The Real Untouchables) crew and No Limit Records (later to blow up back down in New Orleans) were still a Bay Area outfit. Then, as now, women were in the minority in the local rap game. However, those that did represent, including Suga T, Conscious Daughters (see video for "Gamers" below), and Sh'Killa (self-described "gangstrez from da Bay") were all respected, empowered women artists who didn't feel the need to flaunt their sexuality in exchange for fame in the rap game.

April 1996 was when 2Pac's double album All Eyez On Me -- his fourth full-length, released two months previously on Death Row -- was 'most everyone's favorite rap album and would go on to sell close to ten million copies worldwide. Five months later, on September 13th, Tupac Shakur would be gunned down and killed after leaving the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

The number one release was the all-killer Cell Block Compilation, which stands the test of time, withJT the Bigga Figga appearances from Too $hort, Bad N Fluenz, Luniz, Mr Ill, Ant Banks, Seagram (R.I.P.), J-Dubb, 3X Krazy, The Deliquents and more. Really strong collection! Another great Bay Area rap compilation on this 1996 weekly chart (#44) was the Bay Area Playaz compilation on local indie rap label Anonymous, which featured turns from such local heavyweights as RBL Posse, Knumskull of the Luniz, JT The Bigga Figga (pic right), Master P and TRU, The Delinquents, Totally Insane, Guce, Sean T, GLP, Young Cellski, Hitman, The Link Crew, Mr. El, Sh'killa and then newcomers Street Thugs, with production from the likes of K-Lou, DJ Fuze, Cellski, Sean T, The Enhancer and JT. In fact, if you wanted to get a good sampling of Bay Area rap circa 1996, these two collections would do the trick. 

HIP HOP SLAM BAY AREA TOP 50 (4/6/96) (*=New Release, V/A = various artists)

Recommended Bay Area Rap Compilation from mid nineties 1) Various Artists Cell Block Compilation (Cell Block/Priority)
2) Rappin' 4-Tay Aint No Playa (Rag Top/Chrysalis)
3) Conscious Daughters Gamers (Priority)
4) 2Pac All Eyez On Me (Death Row)
5) IMP Ill Mannered Playas (In-A-Minute)
6) Mac Mall Get Right (Relativity)
7) Peanut Butter Wolf Step On Our Egos (South Paw)
8) Too Short Gettin' It  12"  (Jive)
9) N.O.A. forilla (120)
10) The Delinquents Smooth Getaway (Dank Or Die)

11) Suga T Paper Chasin' (Sick Wid It/Jive)
12) Twisted Mind Kids Twisted Mind State (8-song demo - No Exit)
13) Lateef The Wreckoning/Latyrx (Solesides)
14) MadFace Black Attracts Heat (Corn Field)
15) Lil Gangsta P meet the lil gangsta (Erin)
16)  V/A The Dangerous Crew (Dangerous/Jive)
17) Richie Rich Half Thang (41510/Shot)
18) Milkman feat Da Goonz Reminisce (Major Music)
19) Hobo Junction E.P. (South Paw)
20) Sacred Hoop demo tape (Miasmatic)

21)  Tha M.O.B.B. never trust them h*’s (Bounce)
22) Spice 1 "Ain't No Love" 12" (Jive)
23) Dr Octagon (feat Q-Bert)  Dr Octagonocologyst (Bulk)
24) Askari X Message To The Black Man (Slow Motion)
25)  Dream Nefra "Wanted" 7" single (Hatshepsut Music)
26)  V/A  All Haters Beware (CTI)
27) Moe-Man straight real (Straight Real)
28) V/A Kinfolks (Extortion)
29) Crack Emcee Ghettoblaster (10 song demo)
30) Primo Stickin To The Script (Black Power Records)

31) Master P Ice Cream Man (No Limit/Priority)
32) V/A Sick Wid It Records Compilation/The Hogg In Me (Sick Wid It/Jive)
*33) Ncognito Bay Area 4080 Nation Wide (promo-only tape) 
34) Junk Kiss My Acid Jazz (Faffco)
35) Game Related Soak Game (Big K)
36) Ironic De Vallejo (Conspiracy)
37) Funky Aztecs feat 2Pac Slipping Into Darkness (Conspiracy)
38) Totally Insane Back Street Life (In-A-Minute)
39) Mack Lew Music 4 Da Late Nite (Snake Pit)
40) Gee-Que Catch Me In The Wind (Half Ounz)  

 *41) Sh'Killa Gangstrez From da Bay (GWK/Priority)
 42) West Coast Rhyme Sayrz Land Of Pimps & Hoes (In-A-Minute)
 43) Hook Boog Kreepin while ya sleepin (Abyssal Giantism)
 44) V/A Bay Area Playaz (Anonymous)
 45) J. Dubb Game Related (Relentless)
 46) Dru Down, Luniz from Thin Line Between Love & Hate S/T (Warner)
 47) Celly Cel Killa Kali (Sick WId It)
 48) RBL Posse’s Hitman Solo Creep (The Right Way)
 49) V/A The Dark Side EP (Tough Street)
 50) B.LA.C.K. demo tape

Oakalnd's WhoRiders of Hobo Junction sign to Delicious Vinyl imprint - 1996

Hobo Junction
's WhoRidas got signed to South Paw/Delicious Vinyl. Meanwhile, the Oakland collective's best known member Saafir has left Qwest/Warner over what manager Sleuth called "creative differences." Another former Qwest Records artist, Clever Jeff, says he is much happier been signed to the smaller local SF label OM Records. Jeff, whose debut got slept on by way too many, is about to go into Richmond's One Little Indian studios with legendary Bay Area producer Al Eaton to record his second album.

Another East Bay rapper who switched from a major to an independent label is COZ....David Paul and the Bomb hip-hop magazine (longtime supporters of vinyl) are gearing up for the release of two great new albums: Bomb Worldwide (an international rap compilation) and Return of The DJ (Volume Two) -- a sequel to the popular hip-hop DJ produced compilation from last year. Expect these new releases to drop in May and June respectively. Also keep a lookout for Return of the DJ (Vol I) to be released on CD shortly.

From downtown Oakland label Another Hit Records comes a new Latino rap compilation entitled Definition of Brown which will include Aztlan Nation, MC Man, and Phame. Contact (510) 251-0135...The soundtrack to the new Tom Berenger movie The Substitiute includes cuts from Master P, TRU and Young Murder Squad featuring Sh'Killa...The latest issue of Rap Pages magazine is tight.  It's a special DJ issue with a cool feature on Frisco's West Coast Rock Steady Crew (Q-Bert, Apollo, Mixmaster Mike, Disk, 8-Ball, Shortkut)

Relevant Tags

Clever Jeff (1), Saafir (2), Whoridas (1), Master P (6), Conscious Daughters (6), Mac Mall (2), 2pac (20)